New survey finds many people don't believe systemic racism is a barrier to health

Despite color groups with the worst hit from COVID-19, a recent study shows that many people do not perceive institutional bias as a health obstacle.

RAND's latest study, COVID-19 and the Perspectives of Communities at Greater Risk, measures health, equity and race perceptions in the sense of a pandemic.

More than 4,000 researchers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation participated in the research.

In lower and middle income families, researchers pursued individuals earning less than $125,000.

About half of the participants did not think racial bias is a significant cause of adverse health conditions for people of colour.

Black and Hispanic respondents were more likely to say that it was, but the poll still over-sampled them — many of the people polled of color did not view this as a significant issue either.

"When some of these differences are not recognized, it only means that we can do more work to explain how this type of injustice pervades this system, the significances for different populations and how we actually remedy it," said senior policy analyst Anita Chandra, vice president and manager of RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

Anita Chandra, RAND Corporation Senior Management Analyst and Vice President and Director RAND Social and Economic Health.

But the poll has showed that 70 percent of respondents believe the pandemic provides an incentive for meaningful change, including changes in access to healthcare.

However, Black and Hispanic people were more inclined to affirm the argument than white people.

"This does not only matter in terms of readiness to take certain policies and vote," Chandra said, "but it also means that we are far off to better understand these kinds of issues."

Reducing income inequality was the second most commonly recorded change sparked by the pandemic respondents and almost two-thirds of respondents agree the government should have "fundamental rights" health care.

White respondents were less likely to accept this argument than other races.

Researchers are studying why.

"Is it a feature of a culture that tried to be more racially blind for many years?

Chandra said. "Chandra said.

"This could clarify the unequal reactions where white Americans are not especially likely to see color versus the color perception when the front and middle are more.

And not only interpersonally, but also in the vibrant systems and organizations.

"Because those are the long-standing sources of inequity, not being able to appreciate it and understand it means that it’s really hard to design policy solutions," continued Chandra.

"It continually challenges us to fail to recognize that we're not on the same page."

There will be a second wave of test findings in the spring and a third and final installment in the autumn.

More: More:

Unequal treatment: Death of COVID-19 in Black Doctors reveals racial inequalities in health care

Adviser: Discussing inequalities in the war against viruses

Black Latino populations are wary about COVID-19 vaccinations, but colored women can help swing the momentum

Reach Hassanein on Twitter @Nhassanein_ at nhassanein@usatoday.com or on Twitter.

This article was originally published in TODAY: RAND finds many don't accept racism is a health barrier

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